Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Friday, November 24, 2017

Honey Lemon Water Challenge

Have you heard about the so called "wonder cure" that is hot water with honey and lemon? I have, and actually use it every time a scratchy throat or sniffly nose comes around. I've also made it my first drink of the morning on many occasions, but probably not for a longer length of time.

I just read about a blogger who took on the challenge of drinking hot water with honey and lemon most every morning for a year. Her results were pretty amazing, no colds, stomach bugs, or other ailments. Wow!

I believe that the way to do it is to make this drink the first one of the morning. Warm water, the juice from half of a lemon, and raw honey. So, I'm going to do it, and track my results. I can say from the experience of drinking it on a short term basis, that I did feel better. But this time around, I'm going to see if it affects the amount of colds and bugs that I get. I will be keeping you all posted. Maybe you'd like to join me too? It's a yummy experiment to try. I'll be letting you know how it goes!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mason Jar Turkeys

Today's crafty blog post is brought to you by my youngest daughter. We were talking about our Thanksgiving plans, and trying to come up with a cute hostess gift or table decoration. We came up with...mason jar turkeys! They couldn't be too much simpler to create either.

You need:

Mason jar
Construction paper
Google eyes
Craft glue
Hot glue gun
Assorted candy or treat of your choice

To make:

Cut out a turkey body, feathers, beak and wattle. Glue turkey face pieces together, and then the feathers together. Using hot glue, attach turkey body to front of mason jar, and the feathers to the back. Fill jar with candy, treats, or you can write what everyone is thankful for on little slips of paper and put those inside. Cute!

Illuminating Literature:Characters in Crisis - A Review

As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I always look forward to checking out the upcoming vendors. When Illuminating Literature:Characters in Crisis by Writing with Sharon Watson came up, and I was put on the list to review it, I was thrilled. Actually, that's an understatement. I was probably more excited than one might expect a person to be over a literature course, lol. Of course, most homeschool moms that I know can get pretty jazzed over curriculum, but let's just say, I was happy.

We received the Student Textbook, the Teacher's Guide, and the Quiz and Answer Manual. There is also a great Novel Notebook for the course that is a free pdf download on the Illuminating Literature:Characters in Crisis  website. If you take another glance at the title of this review, you'll be reminded that it's a literature course. As such, you 'll be reading various classic books. While some short stories are included within this curriculum, you will need to borrow or purchase others. But I'll come back to that in a bit. For now, let me lay out the material and other pertinent information that you'll find in each of these books.

This is a class created for grades 9-12. It is a full year, two semester, college prep course. Upon completion your student will have earned one credit. While it is second in a series, this class may be completed on its own, without prerequisite. Bonus, for me, and I know, many of you, it is presented from a Christian worldview.

The Student Book:

This is the textbook, and the workbook for your student. The text begins with an introduction to the course. The author presents the material in a personable style, very conversational. She offers an overview of the year, some of the literature selections that will be covered, and then has the student take a fun opinion survey regarding their history and general feelings about the subject. She also provides reasons that it is important to include classic literature in their education, and a glossary terms that will be used. I love the way that she presents this course. Even if you have a student that dislikes the subject in general, her tone is disarming and welcoming. I was quickly drawn in by the personality of her writing, and I knew that my daughter wouldn't be the only one taking this class, lol.

After finishing the first few lessons of the Introduction section, it's time to begin reading some classics. The material for the books make up the chapters. So for the first story, A Jury Of Her Peers, that chapter features lessons surrounding that story. There are questions that relate to the theme of the story, to get your mind thinking, reading and homework schedules, character breakdowns, insights into the author's life, and finally, the story itself. It's packed with material! Following the story, there is still more to do. Students rate the story, giving one to five stars. There is a quiz to take, and work in the Novel Notebook- I'll cover those shortly. Finally, there is a list of activities to choose from, to extend the theme of the story. All of these activities and lessons will help teens learn how to analyze a piece of literature.

Hand in your activity and wipe the sweat from your brow. Lol!

The Teacher Guide:

Really, this is what it says it is, the manual for the course. It provides the versions of the books that will be read, as well as a list of the short stories that are already in the Student Workbook. It lays out course objectives, grading instructions, and the basic schedule. Very good book.

The Quiz and Answer Manual:

There are two options for taking the quizzes for this course, online, or using this Quiz and Answer Manual. The only difference, which obviously would be, that one is paper and one is online. Our family is old fashioned, and we still prefer a paper copy, so this manual was and is, great. There are a couple of quizzes for each story, one is an "I read the story" quiz, and the  other a literary terms quiz.

The Novel Notebook:

This is the free PDF that is found on the website. It's pretty cool. Print it, and keep it in a 3 ring binder. It's colorful, and sorry teens, this might not be cool to say, but it's cute and pretty too. This notebook has various questions to answer, as well as other short writing assignments, all of course, relating to each story or book. And you know, I just really like this. It's visually appealing, and a nice written record of the class.

Here is a sample of literature that will be read:

* A Jury of Her Peers
* Frankenstein
* Silas Marner
* Much Ado About Nothing

What do we think?

I used this with my daughter, who is in the 8th grade. But wait!, you say, you said that this is a course for grades 9-12! I know, I know, it is. The cool thing about homeschooling is that you can gauge the maturity and readiness of your students. I felt that she could handle the course, so we went for it!
We worked 4 days a week, and are partway through the book Frankenstein as of the writing of this post. I had thought that she would find the tone of the teaching to be interesting and inviting. My daughter loves to read, but the general study that accompanies the subject of literature can be a bit of a yawn for her. I'm happy to say that I was right, and while she wouldn't call Frankenstein her favorite, she does like the lessons. She's learning that there are classics that she likes and doesn't like, but that she can learn something from all. And, this class is not only for homeschoolers. It will also work in classrooms and co-ops. As the teacher, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this course! I wish that I had had the opportunity to take this class when I was in high school. Fortunately, I  still can! I would and will recommend Writing with Sharon Watson to anyone who will listen, and specifically this course, Illuminating Literature:Characters in Crisis . I would strongly encourage you to visit the website, and look at the sample lessons. I bet you'll be impressed!


Find Writing with Sharon Watson on social media:



What did other Crew members think? Read their reviews here

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kutless - Alpha/Omega - A Review

I'm fairly confident that most Christians are familiar with the band called Kutless,. They've been on the Christian music scene for quite a while now. I admit that while I was familiar with their name, I couldn't tell you what their music sounded like. When I received their latest album, Alpha/Omega, for free, in exchange for my honest review, I was looking forward to finally hearing their work.

Guess what happened? I discovered that I was already familiar with their music! Many, if not most of the songs on this project, are ones that our family have enjoyed at church and youth group. How did I not know ? I'm a little embarrassed, to tell you the truth. Oh well, red face aside, I'm glad to be in the loop now. So, I'm going to share our thoughts about Alpha/Omega, but first, a little more information about the band.

About Kutless:
Since signing to BEC Recordings in 2001, Kutless has transformed from a new rock band to a staple artist in the industry that has multi-format, top-charting hits, sold millions of records and more than eight million streams. Launched by original members Jon Micah Sumrall (lead vocals) and guitarist James Mead, the band formed first as a modern rock/worship band at Warner Pacific College in Portland in 2000. Kutless has two RIAA Gold-selling albums for Strong Tower and Live from Portland. The band has had 12 No. 1 radio singles across all formats including their major hits "Strong Tower,” "What Faith Can Do" and "Carry Me To The Cross.”
After more than 15 years together and reaching fans around the world, Kutless continues to be focused on sharing the Gospel with a younger generation that is searching for answers.
“We really believe that music can make a difference in people’s lives,” shares Jon Micah Sumrall. “Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can break down walls and allow us to communicate a message of hope to people who may not listen otherwise. We are still recording and performing because we really do believe it makes a difference. We hear stories all the time from people who share with us how a concert or a song has radically impacted their life, and it’s these types of testimonies that keep us going year after year.”
In 2012, Kutless formed EOTA Ministries (End of The Age) to expand their evangelistic outreach around the globe. EOTA is the non-profit arm that aids Kutless in hosting large, free outreach concerts and events. In 2015, they partnered with other organizations to bring concerts to Kiev, Ukraine and other cities for six events - the largest of their kind in that country. The next year, Kutless returned to 11 cities in Ukraine as well as in Belarus, a communist country, where more than 100,000 heard the Gospel and over 40,000 commitments to Christ.
With their upcoming album ALPHA / OMEGA, Kutless has created a collection of rock and worship songs of both original and cover tracks that are true to who the band has been for the last 17 years. They wanted to create a project that would engage the Christian community and have the greatest impact. The songs are true to who the band is at their core - rock and worship. ALPHA / OMEGA features a new version of “Strong Tower” as well as the debut radio single “King of My Heart.”

Go ahead, have a listen:

Here is the lineup of songs:

1.) Your Great Name

2.) Strong Tower

3.) King Of My Heart

4.) Cornerstone

5.) You Are Love

6.) Great Are You Lord

7.) Your Love Awakens Me

8.) Shepherd Of My Soul

9.) Gave It All

10.) No Wonder

Okay, let's get back to business. I figured that for my first listen, I would put it on for background music, and kind of get a general feel for the tone of the album. I quickly discovered that this wasn't going to be background music for me. I was drawn in by the worship. Now, I've always loved hard driving rock. I come from the 80's Hair Band scene, lol. So, the more anthem leaning songs on Alpha/Omega appeal to me. Yet Kutless performs the ballads in a fashion that appeals to those with my tastes. It seems to me that it's rare to find a group, even a Christian one, that has a gift for combining that style with genuine reverence. Music that yes, has you singing and feeling the beat, but also has you raising your hands in worship to God.
I'm in, I'm a fan. Lead vocalist Jon Micah Sumrall has a powerful, but velvety voice that can belt out a rock anthem with the best of them (Strong Tower, Your Love Awakens Me), and can also effortlessly bring you into the presence of God ( Gave It All, Your Great Name, King Of My Heart). This is on my repeat play list. I really think you'll like this project, so grab a copy! 

* I received a free copy of Alpha/Omega by Kutless in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Adored - 365 Devotions For Young Women, by Lindsay A. Franklin - A Book Review

Our household is blessed with two beautiful girls. The first is a teenager, and the other is not far behind. When I had the chance to review the devotional book Adored, 365 Devotions For Young Women, I knew that it was a book that I wanted to check out. (I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion.) I specifically had my oldest in mind for this, first of all, because she fits the targeted demographic. Even more than that, it looked like a book that would underscore God's love for her using relatable topics and issues of the present day.

Adored, at first glance, is a beautiful book. Hardcover, navy blue, with foil painted illustrations on the cover, it's durable yet pretty, without being too frilly. I mention that, because my daughter is definitely not a frilly sort of young lady. They say not to judge a book by it's cover, but I do like the look of it, and so did my daughter, lol.

Getting to what really matters in this book, as the title states, there are 365 devotions here. Each has a scripture verse, and inspirational message, both being short. They are all numbered, as in Day 1, Day 2, etc., but don't feel like they must necessarily be completed in order. If you notice a message that speaks to a relevant situation in your life, use it!

Topics that are addressed include modesty, bullying, anger, beauty, perfectionism, God's unfailing love, and many many more. They get the point across without looking like a written lecture. These might be good for use by leaders of small groups, as a quick way to introduce or reinforce a topic.

Overall, we like Adored. I think this is a good book to use in conjunction with another bible study. It probably isn't in depth enough to use as an only Bible study, but is certainly a good help. With the holidays quickly approaching, this would be a nice (edifying) stocking stuffer for the young women on your list. Pick up a copy, and enjoy.

Read more about the book:

Find it on Amazon

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Innovators Tribe - Think Like An Engineer - A Review

"Hey sweetie, how would you like to learn how to think like an engineer ?", I asked my daughter. "The Crew has a review for us from Innovators Tribe ." As my 12 year old shrieked in excitement,  jumping up and down, I took it as a sign that yes, she would definitely be interested. She then flew to my side, looking over my shoulder at the computer, to see what she might be learning. We received a 2 year subscription to this online course for 6th - 12th graders, and yes, we were eager to get started. So, let's talk about engineering!

To start with, do you know what an engineer does? We've all heard of them of course, but what does a career in engineering actually look like? The short answer is, engineers do all kinds of things. They aren't nailed down to one area. Using technology in design and applied science, they create, and they troubleshoot. Now, what does that look like in this course? Think Like An Engineer is a self paced, interactive  program that spans across 6th -12th grades. As a parent, you can relax, because the teaching is all done for you. The lessons are engaging and fun. They are simple to follow, with prompts available to help the younger side of the targeted spectrum. It will tell you what you'll be covering for that lesson, the time it will take, and what and where to go from there when completed. Downloadable journals are included. Print them out before the lessons for your student can work along with the online instructor. 
The first journal, slightly manhandled from trekking it around as she works

Getting started with the course (and a little breakfast doesn't hurt)

Throughout the course, there is a good mix of teaching time and various "challenge activities". These are hands on projects where your student will design and generally figure out ways to create structures. I'll show you a few of those examples shortly. First, here is the general overview of material that is covered:

                                                     1.) Introduction and welcome to Engineering
                             2.) Introduction to 3D Design
          3.) Rollercoasters
4.) Bridges
                  5.) Nano Engineering
                                6.) Thinking Like An engineer

Once you reach the 3D Design section, you'll have the opportunity to download CAD software. I was impressed with the support and help offered by this course. They walked us through it, and we got it done smoothly and easily. And I must say, it really is cool software. But the best part of it is that my daughter (having had wonderful assistance from the instructors throughout the introduction of it) was able to walk me through what she has been learning. She is excited about engineering, and I love it! It's not a drudgery, and the fact that she can teach it back displays its effectiveness. And the hands on activities solidify the concepts.

This journal walks the student through the CAD set up process, breaking down the steps

That provides the gist, if you will, of Innovators Tribe  Think Like An Engineer . Let me show you some of the design challenges that my daughter has worked on. This first on required her to use only 4 sheets of paper and 2 feet of masking tape, and construct a self standing tower. After a couple of attempts, and maybe, just maybe a teensy bit of advice from Dad, she did it!

Next up, again, using paper, tape, and making sure to create some kind of stabilizing support, the object was to make a paper structure that would hold as many books as possible.

Our next design challenge will be creating a water filtration system. That one looks to be pretty cool too, and we're looking forward to it.

What do we think? Well, at 12 years old, and in the 7th grade, my daughter is on the younger end of the age range for this course. That hasn't made a difference in her enthusiasm, though. She's been working on this for one to two days a week on average. I haven't had to remind her either, she enjoys the program, and gets right to work. We had one or two days where the video was glitchy, and wouldn't play. I contacted support, and received an immediate response, suggesting various solutions, and then a follow up email. I'm impressed with that kind of customer service. As we prepare for high school , I appreciate the roughly 30 hours of teaching that this course provides my daughter (that would be 1/4 credit). I also like the way that Innovators Tribe Think Like An Engineer is teaching my daughter new ways to approach various challenges. She's learning fresh approaches to problem solving. How could I not approve of that? Please, check them out. I'll bet that you like them too.

Ages: 6th-12th grades
Price: $149.00 , but get it on sale now for $96.00

Click here to read more Crew reviews!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pretty Felt Flowers

Today's blog post is brought to you by my artsy 12 year old daughter. She loves to craft, and it's fun to watch what she comes up with. This past week, she's been making pretty little felt flowers, which she learned to make in a co-op class. They are so cute, that I thought other people would enjoy learning to make them as well. So here are the step by step instructions.

You will need:

Felt - any color
Glue Gun


                             Step 1.) Cut your felt in a large strip, maybe 2 inches long, it's up to you.


Step 2.) Squeeze a strip of hot glue along one side of the length of the felt. Then carefully, because the glue is hot, fold it over lengthwise, and smooth it out. Trim off any uneven edges.


Step 3.) Along the folded end, make small cuts through the felt, being careful not to cut it off. Carefully fan out the loops.

Step 4.) Roll up the felt into a flower. Put some glue at the last bit of felt at the end, and hold firmly for 5-10 seconds, until set.

Aren't they pretty?

The possibilities are endless as far as what to do with these flowers. Make a headband like my daughter did, by attaching one to a headband.

Or, make napkin rings.

They would even look lovely with a variety of colors, displayed in a decorative bowl or basket on a table. What will you do with them?